According to Bloomberg News, CBS has nixed a pro-cannabis ad calling for the legalization of medical marijuana from airing during the Super Bowl.
"Acreage Holdings, the multi-state cannabis company backed by John Boehner, says CBS rejected a television advertisement that calls for the legalization of medical marijuana," reports the outlet. "The network, which is airing the game on Feb. 3, nixed the proposed spot after seeing a rough outline, according to the company."
Medical marijuana remains legal in 30 states, though proponents say that the federal prohibition on cannabis has made it harder for patients to obtain the drug. Acreage President George Allen told Bloomberg the Super Bowl ad was designed to "create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue."
"It’s hard to compete with the amount of attention something gets when it airs during the Super Bowl," Allen told the outlet. "We certainly thought there was a chance. You strike when the chance of your strike has the probability of success — this isn’t a doomed mission."
"We're disappointed by the news but somewhat unsurprised," Allen said, adding that media companies would be afraid to air the ad so long as recreational and medical marijuana remains illegal in certain parts of the country.
"Still, we developed the ad in the spirit of a public service announcement. We feel it's our responsibility to advocate on behalf of our patients," Allen said.
CBS has issued no comment on the matter.
Harris Damashek, Acreage’s chief marketing officer, echoed Allen's sentiment that the ad was a public service announcement. "It’s a public service announcement really more than it is an advertisement,” Damashek told USA Today. "We’re not marketing any of our products or retail in this spot."
As the legalization of marijuana gains steam across the United States, the cannabis industry has been working overtime to remove the stigma associated with the drug, to the point of even advising people to stop using the word "pot" because it's an offensive term.
"Marijuana still carries a stigma that surfaces with the use of old slang like pot and weed," reports Anchorage Daily News,. "For many, the words evoke an image of lazy, not-so-bright people who puff their lives away."
The industry wishes people would start using the more scientifically-minded name "cannabis" instead.
"The image deeply bothers the marijuana industry, which is telling the public — sometimes gently, sometimes curtly — that they should use the word cannabis," ADN continued. "That's the scientific name for the plant from which marijuana is derived."
California legalized marijuana in 2017 and has been slowly building a social scene out of the recreational drug in certain parts of the state. Currently, the ultra-liberal town of West Hollywood is vying to become another red light district with Amsterdam-style pot lounges. According to Bloomberg, the city has already begun accepting applications.
"West Hollywood is one of the first cities in the country to introduce these kinds of licenses," reports Bloomberg, "and the winners will be allowed to create the equivalent of alcohol-fueled social bars for cannabis users -- sans booze."
Similar proposals have popped up in San Francisco and Oakland. Since much of the state prohibits pot smoking in public places, the lounges would be an alternative social space.